Coke Ennyday, the scientific detective, divides his own time in periods for "Sleep", "Eat", "Dope" and "Drink". In fact he's used to overcome every situation with drugs: consuming it to increase his energies or injecting it in his opponents to KO them. To help the police he discovers a contraband of opium (which he eagerly tastes) transported with "Leaping Fishes", and the blackmail of a mysterious man who wants to marry the "fish blower" girl. Will Coke be able to free the girl ?
This film probably single-handedly launched the war on drugs. (BG)
Seriously, the preceding years were interesting times for legal cocaine in America. It had been removed from Coca-Cola in 1903, and I'm not sure but I think it was criminalized by 1914, only two years before "Mystery of the Leaping Fish."
In case anyone's curious, the relevant Sherlock Holmes stories came out earlier, in the late 1800s, I believe, when public concern about cocaine was growing.
Every time I'm tempted to enthuse about Doug Fairbanks in his costume drama years, a little voice inside me whispers "Coke Ennyday," and I calm down immediately.
The movie gets 2 stars, though, because while unlikely, it's not impossible that Charlie Chaplin borrowed from this Fairbanks performance for the cocaine scenes in "Modern Times."
January 20, 2008 Subject:
What was that 1920s? film about the cowboy who liked the weed? It was shown in conjunction with some theatrical/repertory showings of Reefer Madness in the 70s. I'd hope for more of this sort of historical fun on archive: anyone have this material out there?
This is a very funny film, even for today's wit and humor, it's full of double meaning word play on cocaine use, and it gets a little slapstick with its antics. It is even surreal for its forward thinking sense of humor about this subject. And it has a modern feeling to its portrayal of human emotions, as if they ad libbed much of this movie and had no intention of doing second or third takes in order to dramtically over dramatize their actions, so common for films of the time, but it turns out very honest in its result. BUT, both the streaming flash version and the download version have busted audio tracks about a quarter of the way into the movie. PLEASE FIX THIS INTERNET ARCHIVE. Because this is a silent movie with music added. And the music they added is wonderfulness. Most people are familiar with the WC Field's "International House" version of Cab Calloway's "reefer man", well here's a new version you haven't heard before, and its oh so cool man. And there's a bunch of these swingin' tongue in cheek, sexy, ornery, brassy, swing tunes. The soundtrack stole the show for me in fact. The music is a few years later than the time the movie was made, so this must have been added some time later in this version of the film's life. But I don't want to misdirect you ether, Barrymore is funny as hell all tooted up and doing this flimsy bouncing walk, and shoving everyone's nose into a cloud of coke. Then there's the Leaping Fish mystery, well it's an inflatable water toy in the movie...and the people use it as a water raft in the ocean...so I guess the humor comes from having to ride the leaping fish water toy raft, and isn't it interesting that it looks like a three headed male member of human anatomy, and they have so much fun riding it and getting all wet with it. I have a hard time not believing that they did not kow what they were doing. They had to know. And play it well they did. Even though the soundtrack is busted I gave it 4 stars, what music is there is killer, but am thoroughly disappointed IA hasn't better Quality Control on what gets posted, time consuming I suppose. Anyway I was glad to see this movie and have to think people will discover it and it may be destined to a cult following, its a fun flick.